If you happen to get mugged or lost something during travel, always, always, find tourist police, not just regular ordinary police officer. When my stuff got stolen in Thailand, we went to nearest police station and reported the case. The police officer didn’t speak any English, at all, and none of his fellow officers could help him out, while my friends and I already presented human body language show for several minutes just to explain what I had lost.
After a while, the police officer initiated to seek for help from souvenirs seller to translate, from English to Thai. and 30 minutes later, the report came – in Thai. WTF?? I couldn’t use the report in Indonesia with Thai writings like that! So then they told us to go to Tourist Police, about 15 minutes walk from there to get report in English. Whaa? Why didn’t he say it 40 minutes ago….? So my friends Dita and Shinto volunteered to go there while I had to manage not to vomit on my self.
the report it self is quite simple. just explanation of the situation where the stuff got stolen. no promises to get the thief though.
In Rome, when I reported to police officer after I got mugged by roman gladiator for having taken picture with them, he just smiled and told me next time I had to be careful. He thought it was not a case.
In Madrid, after having mugged in train station, I reported to nearest officers I could find. They didn’t speak any English so I had to explain in limited Spanish with the help of – again – human body language. They didn’t take any report, and suggested I go to police station at Sol. I went there. And turned out they were not tourist police. They told me to go to the one across the main street. Again, it was tourist police. and they told me to go to main police station at Via Leganitos. After got lost couple of times and asked people on the street (they were quite nice and would happily point you the way), or impatiently queueing for tourist information centre to have map, I finally found the place.
When I arrived, the English speaking officer was not there yet, so again. human body language plus tragic spanish ability. Found that they knew bit French. So I could communicate further in French.
Step by step – reporting
1. you explain what happen
2. they will help you cancel all the credit cards and important cards by phone.
3. they give you queueing number, and with that reference number I make the full report again, through telephone to someone over there who’s simultaneously typing your comments. They will ask detail information not just the situation, place, date, time of the robbery takes place, but also full detail description of the suspects, from the hair, height, weight, outfit, style, eyebrow color, nose, eyes, and other details I could remember of, such as on which side they’re wearing the watch or anything.
I got so tired that time and couldn’t care less about the details, I just want file a report so i can use it back home. But the officer insisted, so if they find the guys, or my wallet, they can easily get it back to me.
4. then you wait at the other room. and I have to to wave my original passport to have the written report copy.
WTF?? I left my original one at the hostel and only brought the copy. Then I had to storm back to hostel to get it.
After back and forth for several hours, my report was done….
So other tips are :
– always separate your valuable stuff in several pockets/bags.
– bring only the copy of id card in the most outer bag/wallet. but don’t forget to bring the original ones when reporting!